Happy 2020 From Daikoku PA

In the first three days of a new year, most people in Japan meet with their families and enjoy a sit-down meal of Osechi-ryōri , a variety of colorful, traditional foods beautifully laid out in obento-type boxes. By the third day, however, the shine of doing so has really started to wear off, and that’s when car folk go missing.

Their families won’t send out search parties or anything, as they know it’s the time of the year that automotive enthusiasts from Tokyo and its surrounding cities flock to Daikoku PA and other parking areas for unofficial meet-ups. And Daikoku is exactly where I was at 8:00am this past Friday morning.


With the thermometer showing a rather chilly 2°C (35.6°F), you’d assume it would take some time to get a decent turnout happening, but by 8:00am the iconic automotive location was already brimmed full with a tantalizing assortment of metal.


This is how Japan welcomes in the New Year, and every single January 3rd I visit Daikoku Parking Area, I always leave satisfied and impressed.


You might think there’d be a slight feeling of déjà vu with lots of the same cars you see all year round showing up, but that’s just not the case. Yes, you have your regulars, but on the whole you always leave thinking the same thing: Just how many cool cars is Japan hiding away?

This is what keeps people coming back, because every January 3rd is different.


This year, for example, there was so much awesomeness but a distinct lack of exotic hyper cars. However, there was one lone Ferrari F40 that showed up.

As far as I’m concerned, when an F40 pulls up to a car meet you are done. You have peaked, as you’ve been graced by automotive perfection.


With this being Japan, the Ferrari icon couldn’t have parked up next to anything more different.


The R34 Skyline GT-R crew was out in full force with a massive line-up of cars that must have started assembling at the crack of dawn. I hope 2020 becomes the year Project GT-R finally makes its way back onto the road, but more on that later when I finally get some time to post about it…


The Japanese certainly have a way with cars; they just can’t help themselves and always need to do some customizing and personalization. I’ll let you decide whether this Ferrari 348 Spider with a rear spoiler and chrome wheels works or not.


Without a shadow of doubt though, this BMW E46 M3 on BBS LM wheels is spot-on in every way. It exhibits the JDM take on modern classic German cars, a sublime yet simple blend of parts and touches that result in an “I’m ready for the track” look.


In total contrast and parked up right next to the M3 was this early 2000s Daihatsu Mira dropped on Work Equip 01s.


During my initial brisk five-minute walk through the PA, trying to quickly get my bearings of what was there and where, I came across a surprising number of truly awesome cars.


It’s a good thing the parking spots at Daikoku are nice and wide.


I see you Lancia Delta Integrale, I see you.


As you would have noticed by now, the variety didn’t let us down, and it kept on coming down that ramp that feeds the PA from the highway above.


The entry ramp is where the biggest crowd of people always seem to assemble these days. It’s here you’ll find fellow photographers and vloggers, and visitors from other countries enjoying the constant influx of cars.


2020 marks my 27th year in Japan, and during this time I’ve concluded that there are more running Lancia Deltas in Japan than in Italy. I’ve yet to see one on fire here, which is also quite a feat and testament to how good the Japanese have gotten at making these ticking time bombs – sorry, I meant cars - run.

If you’re a Delta fan I do apologize; I just can’t help myself. To make things better, here’s a pair of Nismo R34s.


As I squatted to capture a shot of this lonely Ginetta in the top corner of the PA, I heard air horns blaring The Godfather theme.


It could mean only one thing – a nice group of kyusha rides were just arriving.


There were some very cool cars in the group, but it was this S130 280ZX that made me really salivate. It was just right; so simple and to the point, and sporting a rear hatch conversion for a bosozoku touch.


Despite their rarity, the Toyota Corona RT40 is a car we’ll see in numbers next month at Nostalgic 2 Days. It’s always nice to see these things out in the wild.


And the same goes for a Tommykaira ZZ, this one looking like it’s been built as a serious track or touge weapon.


A Jalpa 3.5 even appeared for a short time, adding to the rather long list of Lamborghinis that showed up during the morning.


If you asked me to list my top three most memorable cars from the 2020 Daikoku New Year event, this W124 coupe sporting a full Lotec wide-body conversion would be on it.


It’s the most visual expression of exuberance for its period. Much want.


The Z32 guys managed to put this red trio together, and it stopped everyone in their tracks.


But the most eye-catching line-up of Nissans – or should I say Princes – parked together for a short time at the very top of the PA. It’s not common to see this S54 generation of the Skyline, so it was a surprising sight.

Among the larger group was this DR30 RS Turbo and a PGC10 GT-R.


You might remember this Sierra from last year Daikoku New Year coverage.

And yes, more Deltas, too.


I have a feature on this NSX dropping soon, so make sure you look out for that. I’m so glad to see its owner got it fixed, and it’s now looking even better than it originally was when I first shot it years back.


By 9:30am, Daikoku was jam-packed to the point that the police were forced to start moving on cars parked in the spaces reserved for trucks.


Then this showed up. A black Testarossa, completely stock and sporting a deep red interior.


It vanished as fast as it appeared, which was too bad as I’d have loved to take a closer look.


Don’t worry F40, you’re still the only one for me.


By this point Daikoku really had it all, from the Technical Shop Happy and Lotus crew…


To 911s of all vintages …


To the most iconic wedges of all time.


I parked myself at the entrance and just let Daikoku do its thing. The drive in was at crawling pace.


This is when things got really impressive, starting with a ’63 Porsche 356.

And followed by a pair of RUF-re-engineered 911s.


Then a guy rocked up in a Chevy V8-powered Manta Montage race car. Just because.


More kyusha awesomeness quickly followed, led by this stunning S30.


Following closely behind was this GX71 Cresta built by the guys at Gold Rush Customs. It’s a stunning creation from one of the best shops out there specializing in these wonderful, angular Toyotas from the early ’80s.


And yes, that’s an E60 AMG, the ultra-rare and partially-Porsche-built monster sedan from the early ’90s with a massive 6.0L V8 under its hood.


Possibly even rarer was this VBC110 Skyline wagon.


I cannot recall seeing one on the street before, so this was a cool spot.


And then the revving V12s arrived, with an Aventador SVJ leading the pack. It was at this point that the young vloggers on hand started losing it, which was my cue to change location.


I returned back to Project Drop Top Reloaded (more on this soon), and decided to swap lenses to see Daikoku PA from a more wider perspective.


Cossie Escort and Hako’ Skyline, a pretty interesting combo if I do say so myself.


Have you ever wondered why the Celica GT4 is not as popular as an Evo or WRX of the same vintage? At some point, this black example will be making its way to the US with its returning owner.


Fat R33 pairing.

How about this for something rare – an S12 Silvia 240RS, looking like it’s ready to attack the 1000 Lakes Rally.


The dekotora we saw earlier was joined by a few keitora, adding further balance into the JDM-ness of it all.


And if you thought a dose of kawaii was missing, this kei van had it covered.


I’d like to say a big thank you to all the Q45s of the world that donated their large diameter throttle bodies to RB26 users around the world. After all this time, it’s still such a dope-looking car.


Later on in the morning, the Anija team members started rolling in.


Driving with your door up in the air is a must if you are the proud owner of a Lamborghini.


The pink 360 we see every year has much kawaii going on too.


I’m not too sure what this 512 was all about, though.


Koenig or replica? Whatever it is, it’s an interesting looking interpretation of a classic.


Mr. Pagani would be happy to see how the 25th Anniversary version he designed during his time at St. Agata is such a coveted car in Japan.

No, it’s not the real thing, but there is an interesting story behind this 190E, and one I hope to uncover for you soon. It involves one of the biggest car collections in Japan.


Remember this old Star Road S30 demo car from a few years ago?


It’s been sold and now regularly makes it to meets like this one.


The spot of the day was this Mitsubishi GTO, a car you just don’t see in Japan anymore. I wonder where they all disappeared off to?


I hope you enjoyed this extended look at the Daikoku New Year meeting, which was a great way for me to kick off 2020. January always means Japan overload here at Speedhunters, and we’re now just days away from a whole lot of Tokyo Auto Salon content, so brace yourselves.

Dino Dalle Carbonare
Instagram: speedhunters_dino



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Japan's car collection makes me wish I'm Japanese and living in Japan.


You need neither of those to enjoy cars. I'm japanese and trust me, there are a thousand drawbacks in being Japanese and living in Japan that the great local car culture don't counterweight nor make it worth experiencing. I never understand that kind of comments.


it's just hyperbole no harm done here.


Its a matter of perspective. One sees Heads, the other sees tails. Having said that, I think very Japanese actually enjoy working life in Japan. There's a special brand of cruelty that the Japanese reserve for their own.


very few...

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

The Anija F355 looks good, and the colour really reminds me of Project GT-R, Dino. XD

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah a little bluer though


It wont be a chilly 2°C with so many hot cars around. That's for sure.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I was sweating by 10 am and managed to walk away with a nice sunburn as well. The wonders of being follically challenged ;)


Happy New Year Dino, and thank you for covering the meet for us.
Definately the widest variety of cars I've seen in a very long time. Hard to find a car I'm not diggin.
Hope we can see Project GT-R return to meets too.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Happy New Year to you too! I really can't wait to see Project GT-R get back on the road. It's like the entire universe is against this car every getting done!


The perfect life summed up in one picture:

Living in Japan, owning a Ferrari F40. Holy Jesus!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

And actually driving/using one!


I think all the GTO's came to the UK to be claimed by the salt!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

They must have all been exported for sure...


There was definitely a point in time (sure it was the early/middle 2000's) that imports to the UK were cheap and I remember there being an abundance of Japanese performance cars and seeing gto's all the time! Shame that the scrappage scheme and salted roads overhear have not been kind to those imports.


"It was at this point that the young vloggers on hand started losing it, which was my cue to change location."

Dino Dalle Carbonare

I'll never understand the current crop of .... shit I don't even know what to call them. Brochure reciters? Supercar chasers? I will never understand it...

Sebastian Motsch

Happy New Year Dino! The Daikoku PA New Years coverage is something I look forward to every year and you never disappoint. The sheer variety is stunning and lets no dream left out. And again... you had a blue sky and the sun really lets the colors pop. Thank you and cheers from Germany, Sebastian.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you for the kind words and Happy New Year to you too.


I truly hope that one day I could be at that entry ramp

Dino Dalle Carbonare

You're a plane ticket away


Very nice photos Dino. Just a thing on the picture where you talk about the Bellett, the is no Bellett on this picture. It's a Subaru and a T40/50 Toyota Corona.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thanks for the correction!


The list of neat old Japanese cars I want to import to the US has increased dramatically due to this post.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Glad to be of service lol


Dino, how about a visit to Pit Road M? I remember years ago they were the top guys for GTO's? Are they still around? Nut yea, lets find a good GTO to do a spotlight or feature on and even a good GT4 Celica!! Hands up owners!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Well funny you mention that. I actually went there back in the day, I shot their time attack GTO demo car for on of the US mags, Super Street or Import Tuner I forget now. Since they are no longer around (at least in print) I could do a retrospective as that's one car that I always found quite unique. As for Pit Road M yes they are still around and do a wide variety of stuff. I think their main demo car these last few years has been a BNR34.


Yes please Dino a retrospective would be great! Even a visit to Pit Road M "where are they now". Maybe they have a GTO stashed out the back just waiting for some love.


Mr Carbonare! Great to hear from you again. Some of us have really missed your excellent photography, but especially your writing! Your sense of humour is unique, although the Delta fans may not appreciate it so much... but you had me in tears! Hopefully you are well and truly back now. I hope your home is fixed soon and family life is restored to its usual insanity. All the Best for 2020!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thank you very much for the kind words. 2009 was a year I would like to forget very quickly! As for the Delta, I do apologize if I've offended any Delta aficionados (Deltisti?) but come on, they also know the car is a ticking bomb. Spontaneous combustion is a term that always pops in my head when I see any car from the FIAT group from that general time period, followed by an urge to run away quickly. I openly joke about it as I too am a fan and part of the attraction of these cars is using modern tech and components to make them function properly and not break quite as often. First thing that should always be ditched is the engine management. I don't think I'm the only one that has gag reflexes when seeing the Magneti Marelli logo...


Can't wait to see what's there in 2020!
Let's send it!

Dino Dalle Carbonare

More supercar spotters? hahaha


Awesome coverage, thanks Dino

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Cheers Matt!

Stephen Masters

R30 RS ;)

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Third Aussie to spot the error. lol It's been fixed, order has been brought in the land of Nissan.


I don't know why but the MERC 190e always shouts Japanese mobs to me hahaha, but please do run the project gtr update and the project drop top before TAS.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Not before TAS I'm afraid, kind of overloaded on stuff to do before then. Jan is always about giving space to TAS related content :)


Hey actually i'm writing this comment for help. I'm now studying in Tokyo, I don't have a car but I always wanna go to daikouku PA, so is there any other way I could visit there neither take taxis.or.my own car?

Sebastian Motsch

Hello Peter,

Taxis don't go to Daikoku PA and even if the would, you'd have a hard time going back. Best option is renting a car with an ETC card from Yokohama and just drive over the bridge.

Best regards and good luck

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Getting a lift is the easiest way honestly! Ask around I'd say and you'll be surprised by the kindness of most people in the car scene here.


Thanks for including a Mitsubishi GTO. If Japan could let me register a car out there I would love to stay. I already rent a house there. But sadly I will be moving this year from Japan.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Rare cars right? Too bad you are moving, I think these might be some good deals for older, nineties over-technological and powerful daily drivers


Nice coverage, thanks! Do you remember promising us (me) more c130 laurel content (specially 4doors). Please make that a new years resolution :D

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Ah damn you are right my friend. I better start looking around for you. Those cars are so damn pricey these days!


Thanks! Yeah, an even better excuse to drool all over them via a computerscreen on speedhunters


I believe that Isuzu Bellet is actually Toyota Corona RT40

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Thx for the correction


That w124 coupe Lutec wide body kit uses original w124 lights and bonnet from w126 coupe on it?


No, the wide grille was a popular mod back in the day for W124

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Doesn't look like it?


Dino, there were some sweet cars at this meet! I had a kid on my school bus a few years back and his dad is the VP of Ferrari finance for North America. Love the mix of cars at this meet! Never saw a pink Ferrari before. Cannot wait for F1 to begin in March! Lewis goes for 7!


Love the mix of cars at this meet! Nice!


best parking meet period, Evo 2 190, E60, F40? cmon now

Dino Dalle Carbonare

That's exactly how you end up feeling. Craziness.


Japan is the mecca. Always look forward to the coverage of the new year meets. Quality is higher than basically any organised meet or show anywhere.


Great stuff from our point man in the land of the rising sun. Thank you for sharing~

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Grazie Fabio!


That W124 Coupe is insane! Even the grille is widened! So much goodness in one article. Thanks Dino.

Dino Dalle Carbonare

Yeah I was pretty speechless when I came across it. Proper Yakuza car from back in the day!


Sorry if it's a bit off-topic, but just finished your article on the R34 Clubman Race Spec, loved the lengths you went to to explain every part and it's function. Happy New Year, Speedhunters!